Place Assignment: Fisk University

 

The above photograph somewhat resembles a photograph I took of Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University – so much so that it could very well be the same campus. However, this is a photograph of Cravath Hall at Fisk University. Both photographs feature the main administrative building on campus. Trees obstruct both of these important buildings. Though these photographs look similar, they belong to two different universities with very different histories. That these photographs look similar masks the very different histories of these two universities.

Both schools were founded in Nashville around the same time – Fisk University in 1867 and Vanderbilt University in 1873. The similarities in their missions – to provide excellent education and produce exemplary citizens – were overshadowed by the differences in the constituents the schools’ services were offered to. Where Vanderbilt University catered to society’s elites, Fisk University addressed the needs of some of those most disenfranchised in the antebellum south – former slaves.

Fisk, a historically black university, played a very different role in the civil rights movement than did Vanderbilt. Where Fisk students, staff, and faculty made up a large part of those involved in the Nashville sit-ins, Vanderbilt as a whole was in favor of segregation. Vanderbilt Divinity student James Lawson was famously expelled from the university for actively leading Nashville sit-ins.

As a student at Vanderbilt University, the photograph taken on Vanderbilt’s campus holds more personal significance for me than the one taken on Fisk University’s campus. The Vanderbilt photograph features an area of campus that I often walk through, and the trees in particular are tied to my experiences here. But though the Vanderbilt photo is more personal, I still feel connected to the Fisk photo, perhaps because Cravath Hall looks so much like it could be a Vanderbilt building (I think it looks particularly like Central Library on Vanderbilt’s main campus.) The tree obstructing the view of Cravath Hall further enhances the photo’s familiarity to me.

Knowing the often contrasting histories of these two collegiate institutions, the familiarity I feel from the Fisk University photograph comes across as deceptive. How can such different institutions appear so similar? I could easily tell someone that the photo of Cravath Hall is a building on Vanderbilt’s campus, and have him or her believe me. Presented together, these photos make me question how to use photography as evidence. Neither of these photographs are doctored in any way, but they send an inaccurate message concerning the connection between the two schools.

I believe that these photographs shown together are deceiving in that they conceal the extreme differences in the universities’ histories. However, the similarities in the photographs hint that the similarities in the universities are strong, despite historical disagreements. As mentioned before, the two schools were founded around the same time and the same place. With these similarities came similarities for building the institution in the first place. Today, the goals of the universities are strikingly similar. The Fisk University official website states the university’s mission:  “Fisk University produces graduates from diverse backgrounds with the integrity and intellect required for substantive contributions to society. Our curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts. Our faculty and administrators emphasize the discovery and advancement of knowledge through research in the natural and social sciences, business and the humanities. We are committed to the success of scholars and leaders with global perspective.” Vanderbilt University’s mission statement reads, “Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Vanderbilt will uphold the highest standards and be a leader in the quest for new knowledge through scholarship, dissemination of knowledge through teaching and outreach, creative experimentation of ideas and concepts. In pursuit of these goals, Vanderbilt values most highly, intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry and equality, compassion, and excellence in all endeavors.” It is clear that the goals of the two seemingly very different universities are quite similar.

Looking at the similarities between the two schools and seeing how similar the photographs of the two places can look, I recall the artist’s project in which he presented similar photographs of very different people – for example showing Nazi family photos next to European Jewish family photos and realizing that they are very similar photographs. The similarities in the photographs present a deception but also show a commonality in humanity.

While the two Nashville schools have conflicted in the past, the future may hold more unity for these two private universities in Nashville. As the photographs show, despite the universities’ differing histories, they share common values.

Food for Thought: An Introductory Look at Memory Through Place

I don’t trust memory. When I was younger, I believed that Nona, my great grandmother on my father’s side, died after getting stuck in a vintage elevator that connected the study to a bedroom in her house, which happens to be the very same house that I grew up in, and still live in today. I thought that I remembered my parents telling me this harrowing story, and it haunted me, in all its fantastical glory, throughout my childhood (however, I was always reassured by the fact that the elevator let out in my sisters room, and not my own…). Yet, as it turns out, this was not the story that my parents had originally told me, despite my vivid recollection of it. In actuality, they had related to me that it was my great grandfather, on my mother’s side, who died in a freak accident, after slipping down the stairs that led to the basement of his house (Oddly enough, my mother’s grandparents lived down the street from my father’s—a connection that was never made until after my parent’s marriage).

Nona remembered our house being built in 1921, and thus she relayed that date to my father, who relayed it to me. This house, at 307 Bushnell Ave, was built by a developer by the name of Shook. Shook lived in the house until 1946, when my great grandparents bought the property after deciding, like the rest of their fellow San Antonians, that the end of the war meant that a new start was necessary—and so they moved in, along with my then 18-year-old grandmother, Frances. And then, in 1993, a year after my birth, it was our turn. My parents and I, and later my sister, made our way from our house on Rosewood to the Bushnell, and like my grandmother, it became the second place that I would call home.

However, according to the Monte Vista (my neighborhood) Historical Association, the Bushnell was built in 1924, which makes Nona’s memory of its 1921 conception seem obsolete. And yet, is her memory really less real, less accurate, then that official documentation? When do we simply have to override the doubt of memory and begin to trust simple remembrance—is it always so unreliable?

Some would argue no, however, I wonder if the truth is an unfortunate yes? As I stated previously, I do not trust memory. It is too easily morphed. Too often what we believe to be true remembrance is simply a story—a fabricated reality masked by the synthetic form of a memory, as was the case with my “memory” of hearing about my grandmothers supposed death. Because I incorrectly remembered the story that my parents recalled to me, I spent my entire adolescence believing in a falsity. In realizing my mistaken memory a few years ago, when I was retold the real story, it only made me wonder how many of my supposed “memories” are really these unknowingly fictitious recollections.

This is my house. Or rather, this is the Bushnell according to the Monte Vista Historical Association website. Formed in 1975 by a group of stubborn architectural enthusiasts, these MVHA members, in an attempt to prevent the annihilation of these “architecturally diverse” houses, unwaveringly petitioned until San Antonio recognized the area as a historic district (3). It was these very efforts that transformed Monte Vista into the largest, and additionally one of the oldest, historical districts in the country.

They say that Monte Vista was created during San Antonio’s “Gilded Age,” which is defined as the supposed period of progression and transformation in the city that lasted from1860 to 1930 (4). Yet, in this photograph, the Bushnell does not strike me as an enlightened and progressive structure. Behind the mangled and confused trees, you can see but a glimpse of her—bits of a white stone body coupled with a few murky roof tiles. The MVHA categorizes her as “French eclectic,” but I do not see the romance of French décor in this picture. Instead, I am disturbed by this image of my own home. It seems not romantic, but eerie, and distant, as if something dark consumes the house, and those inside.

This is my Bushnell. To me, this is a proper representation of the house that I have lived in for almost two decades, my family for almost seven. Although this photograph does not reveal her characteristic cracked paint, creaking wooden floors, and the broken tiles of the patio that no one has bothered to replace, it does reveal the Bushnell’s hospitality, her charm.

And yet, this is an inside view—you cannot take this photograph from outside of our gates, as the MVHA historians were forced to. From the outside, oaks, pecan trees, and heavy bushes that never ceased growing skyward once Nona planted them, veil nearly the entirety of the structure. Consequently, Bushnell’s representation in the outside world is morphed, like only too many memories. I am frustrated by my inability to present our house, my modest slice of history, as it truly should be portrayed. However, despite my frustration, this is the mere matter-of-fact of history—it preserves by its own accord, the way it sees fit. Because the MVHA, the technical historical database of my neighborhood, has publicly portrayed the Bushnell in such a way, with their own photograph, structure birth date, and architectural style definition, my family’s memory is belittled. Now, the true Bushnell exists only within the memories of four people, as the rest of the family is now deceased, and with our future passing, so too goes Bushnell.

—————————

“ I am neither subject nor object but a subject who feels he is becoming an object: I then experience a micro-version of death (of parenthesis): I am truly becoming a specter” (Barthes 14).

This is another reason why memory unsettles me. Simply speaking, I fear it. That we have no real control over how we are remembered is disquieting. Although Barthes, in all his melodrama, is describing photography, his statement is in line with the workings of memory. Like my family, most Monte Vista houses are inhabited by the descendants of the so-called pioneers, oilmen, ranchers, etc, that first built or lived in the houses (3). We cling to these defenseless structures because we are fearful of what they will be transformed into—we fear the possibility of a public memory claiming them. Like Barthes sitting before a camera, we are subjects becoming objects through memory. Progression brings with it transference, for, in time, we all transfer into these specters, into ghosts, into, memories. And thus, we must begin to trust the unreliable, as fearsome as it is, because, it is simply what we become—it is how we survive…

 ***Discussion to be continued***

Works Cited

1)    Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. New York: Hill and Wang, 2010. Print.

2)    “Homes By Street Bushnell Ave.” Monte Vista Historical Association. 2008. Web. 11 April, 2012. http://www.montevista-sa.org/pages/3112/page/4/

3)    “The Association.” Monte Vista Historical Association. 2008. Web. 11 April, 2012. http://www.montevista-sa.org/pages/associationMain/

4)    “The District.” Monte Vista Historical Association. 2008. Web. 11 April, 2012. http://www.montevista-sa.org/pages/districtMain/

The Exit/In: A Place Personified

The first time I went to Exit/In, I was alone. Perhaps the strangeness of my attending an event so social as a concert alone is why I remember it so well, although, when I really think about it, I’m not entirely sure if I can trust my memories of that first experience at all. It was a concert that I went to for a class assignment, actually. I was to attend any concert of my choice and write a review of the concert. Being a busy, naive freshman who had a knack for procrastination, I found myself standing in line outside the venue feeling rather vulnerable, anxious, and, frankly, stupid. At the same time, I was eager to hear what kind of Nashville acts would be playing inside and was also utterly transfixed by that wall.

Many of you probably know the wall I’m talking about, that black and white graffiti of now famous acts that–once just beginning their careers– took the stage at Exit/In. I’ve always wondered about that wall, especially how recently it must have been erected since I could easily recognize some bands that only began touring around ten years ago. Were their names listed one by one as act after act came through? Either way, there all these different bands were, on the same plane, brought to my present. It is a plaque– a sign of success, esteem and pride, but with a punk-rock, graphic bravado.

That bravado, that courage has been partly the reason why Exit/In has survived the ever-changing neighborhood of Nashville and even a bankruptcy in July of 2002 (Murray). Many people note that concert “dumps” like Exit/In seem to instill a sense in the audience that a good concert venue is about the people, not the place: music historian Robert Oermann notes,

“The Troubadour’s a dump. The Bottom Line is a dump.And the Exit/In to a certain extent was a dump. It was who was there and the music that was made. It wasn’t the club itself, although it was a good room. The Exit felt like a hundred-seat room even with 300 people in it.”

And the Exit/In is very open to any kind of music being made inside its walls. I am aware of this openness myself because of that battle of the bands event I attended. Or at least I think so–I don’t trust my memories, and I really barely remember the other acts that were involved except for a wildly energetic ska band. But at this battle of the bands concert, my memories tell me that I witnessed a group playing power pop in bunny suits. I can’t have constructed that in my own memory–its too strange. If for no other reason, that is why I still think that I may have seen a group wearing bunny suits. It seems like a rather strange memory to hold onto as well, but I think that that night made it clear to me that Exit/In did not discriminate in terms of acts that might bring more or less success to the venue. So really, there are only two things that I remember about that night: the wall and the bunny suit. First an indication of pride and esteem, and then an attitude of indifference and spunk, maintaining that through changes in the club, the original idea is there.

I also agree with Oermann’s statement that a place like Exit/In is about the people. For me, Exit/In became about the people I went to see shows with over my years at Vanderbilt.  It became about the bands and people I saw play, or who made it onto the wall: Josh Rouse, The Donnas, G. Love, Linda Ronstadt, Dinosaur Jr. In that same way, I realize that the history of Exit/In is more about the people than the actual place, and any place that transcends the mere space it inhabits is worth saving. It has bounced from owner to owner, transforming its niche in Nashville with each change(a hippie hideout in the 70’s, a disco in the 80’s), but these changes have culminated in turning Exit/In into a rather rare type of rock club that remains open to all types of music. Finally, it became, I’ve realized more recently, a place of importance because of my family history–A place where my mother and father would go during their years as Law Students in the early 80s, just at the beginning of their relationship, and then a place where I would go almost half a decade later.

And when I asked my mother about their memories of Exit/In, she struggled to recall any memory but the company she kept when she went there:

We would go see bluegrass bands there all the time in the 80s. Actually–that was the Wind in the Willows. Or was it? I can’t remember. I definitely remember going to see a show at Exit/In with your father.”

My mother called me back later that day and suggested I write about another place, one that she remembers a little better, because her memories of Exit/In are so fuzzy. But I couldn’t get past that initial moment of excitement and recognition when I told her I was going to write about this place: Oh yeah! What a great place, we went there all the time!Even thought this turned out not to be true, it simply proves that the Exit/In has a permanent and significant role in Nashville’s landscape, as well as a distinctive look and feel that infiltrates its shows.

After that first night, I spent my nights at Exit/In far from alone. I was surrounded by my friends, friends from school, home, and friends that I made while witnessing each show. Do I remember what I heard, or what my friends and I talked about or did before and after? No. But I remember the people, and I remember the feeling. If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about Exit/In, its that when one goes to a show at the Exit/In, there is a feeling that one is bearing witness to a special moment of rock n’ roll in Nashville: “Despite all the great stories, despite all the history, the Exit/In is quite simply one, old, dark, loud piece of Nashville rock stuck right in the middle of the Music City.” (Exitin.com) When I try to remember my experiences at the Exit/In 30 years from now, just as my mom did, I will at least remember that. Although, I’ll probably remember the wall and the bunny suits, too.

Works Cited

Murray, Noel. “Our Story.” Review. Nashville Scene 5 Dec. 2002. Exit / In. Web. 12 Apr. 2012. <http://www.exitin.com/about/&gt;.

the persistence of memory

Photograph: Front to back: Celeste and strangers, Centennial Park, 2008

That’s Celeste, standing at the bottom left corner of the photograph, contemplating The Parthenon in Centennial Park. Her back is turned away from the camera because she’s superstitious. “Cameras will steal your soul!” She would squawk at anyone holding a camera — even camera phones were seen as a source of evil. Not surprisingly, she owns an electronic dinosaur that is only capable of making phone calls. Celeste takes pride in liking old things (“They have history, which means they have character.”) and she takes pride in following traditions (“If everyone else did these things at one point, then they must be worthy past-times.”) Apparently, visiting Centennial Park and viewing the Parthenon applied to both interests. The park certainly had history and as we were new inhabitants of the city, the visit seemed inevitable.

Upon finally arriving at this spot, Celeste stopped for a moment to take it all in. A minute later she turned around and stated, “There are so many people. Why are there so many of them?” Disappointment seeped into her voice. It seemed to surprise her that other people might want to enjoy a day at a public, historical park. Without waiting for a response, she gestured for me to take a photograph. “We might as well document it, since we’re here already. But, make sure I’m not in the photograph.” For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to crop her out.

She stands there, arms dropped at her sides, unaware of the camera’s film stealing the light emanating from her. The girl who adores old things caught in the same frame as the object of her affections. History in the making and history already made.

* * *

Fiction.

I was surprised to find out that Ronit Matalon’s The One Facing Us was a work of fiction. No, I told myself, it must be a memoir. But sure enough, on the back cover no less, sits the word ‘fiction’ in small bolded letters. Even though her narrative is highly confusing at times, there is a sense of truth behind every word. The photographs (and lack thereof) support her prose — they bring authenticity to her story. Inspired by this quality of her work, I tried to bring this sense of fabricated reality to my Place project.

You know that story about my friend Celeste? It is also a work of fiction. Her name is not Celeste. She is not afraid of being photographed. It was not her idea to visit Centennial Park; it was mine. But if I had been lying before, how do you that I am telling you the truth now? Her name is Natalie. You will have to take my word for it. The same goes for whose idea it was to go to the park. But as for Natalie’s aversion to being photographed, that I can prove false with photographic evidence.

Photograph: Natalie sitting upon the steps of the Parthenon, Centennial Park, 2010

Photograph: Natalie enjoying the sunny afternoon on the lawn, Centennial Park, 2010

Photograph: Natalie contemplating her snow bowl, Centennial Park, 2010

It is odd that I have to use more photographs to prove that Natalie is indeed Natalie, and that she is not afraid of being photographed because I struggled to create the short fictional narrative about Celeste. I am not sure how Matalon managed to write such an elaborate story from her photographs. Perhaps she is a better storyteller than I am, or perhaps, her memories associated with her photographs are not as vivid as the ones I associate with my photographs.

While shuffling through the archive of images in my computer, my memories came floating back as I looked at each photograph. It felt impossible to fashion a brief fiction about any image because I could not disassociate myself with the memories attached to each photograph. I would start writing but then I would realize I was writing about the actual memory instead of a fabricated one. My memories were persistent. They refused to be ignored. I could not escape them. It was not until I came across the photograph of Natalie standing across the street from the Parthenon that my exasperation died down a little. Despite the fact that the Parthenon is clearly in view (a sure sign that we were in Centennial Park), this had been a throwaway photo as far as vivid memories go. I only remember wanting to take a photograph of the front of the building but Natalie happened to be standing there, so why not include her?

Photograph: Natalie across the street from Parthenon, Centennial Park, 2010

But there was a problem. Even though the original photograph was not vivid in memory, it was vivid in color (and terribly distracting). I decided to remove the color and it helped a great deal. Since I do not view the world in black and white, the photograph seemed to belong to someone else’s memory. It became a photograph from an alternate reality, so it was not difficult to imagine a scenario in this other world. Natalie became Celeste and significantly more neurotic, but Centennial Park remained because the Parthenon could not be ignored. I could easily change the names of faceless people, but it is difficult to change the name of a well known, historical monument. I still wanted to retain a degree of reality as Matalon did with her story.

I feel as if my narrative is believable, but it also somewhat worries me. The more I look at the black and white version of the photograph, the more I feel as if the photograph is no longer mine. As if my slight memory of this experience is already disappearing. What if, far off in the future, when my memories have been worn down by time, the fabricated reality that I created for this one photo becomes the actual memory that I associate with this photograph?

I am sure that I will recognize the Parthenon and Centennial Park.

But what if I remember not carefree Natalie, but neurotic Celeste?

Picture It: Literature, Photography, & Memory…… and, for me, Music.

“Music is a total constant. That’s why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in your or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7SqePR_99I&feature=endscreen

Tears streaming down my face, my parents turn and watch as I take in the music spilling into my ears.  As the chills creep up my body, Sara Bareilles is singing sans microphone or equipment, her other band members using their bodies as percussion through slaps and snaps with her fingers producing a light strum on her ukelele. Caught in this moment of pure raw performance, the acoustics of a room have never seemed so simply gorgeous to me. Her voice seems to ooze so easily from her body and vibrate through the historic church that has the acoustics of one of the grandest music halls I have ever encountered. I am a mere individual sitting in my pew feeling every emotion that Bareilles allows the audience to see and share with her. Never have I experienced such a raw performance in my entire life nor have I felt more connected to a performance piece.

The Ryman Auditorium has this effect on music and in turn music has this effect on the Ryman. In heading back to the Ryman to photograph the auditorium, I was surprised to be greeted by the tourism clustering the beauty that I immediately recall when thinking about my experiences there. Though downstairs the hall is set up for tours, with historical costumes, posters, and a set stage, once within the auditorium, the glorious nature of this tabernacle turned renowned musical hall is clear. Although the tourism aspect of the Ryman is overbearing at first, in my documentation of the Ryman I attempted to both capture the touristic view of the Ryman as well as the way I view it as a sacred musical haven. In order to contrast the two, I’ve used effects to create the ambiance of the auditorium to shine in both lights. I photographed the images below as if I were a tourist visiting Nashville, manipulating the saturation of color to have the most vivid and clear image of my visit to the auditorium.

During my daytime visit, voices of famous musicians were speaking about the Ryman on video, many commenting repeatedly again and again that this room is their favorite place to perform in the world. The acoustics are absolutely breathtaking, both the audience and these historic individuals agree. Built in the 1880s, acoustics were within the structure and design concept. Thomas G. Ryman, a prominent steamboat captain and businessman, promised Reverend Sam Jones to “build a great tabernacle that would project [his] voice clearly and powerfully for all to hear.”  Incredibly enough, with the opening in 1892, the same acoustics in mind then have continued to produce glorious sounds through today. With only one restoration in 1994, the Ryman continues to not only uphold these original intentions of pure acoustics but also keep the structure of Ryman’s tabernacle. The auditorium holds the technology and advances of modern day while keeping the “Mother Church of Country Music” title hold true. A true historic site, at first sold out by a lecture by Hellen Keller and Anna Sullivan Macy, now home to sold out performances by the most respected and renowned musicians.

I’ve always assumed that my strong connection to the Ryman has stemmed from the shows I have seen there. I have strong connections with both the music of Sara Bareilles and that of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who I’ve seen perform on this stage twice. However, the true passion I hold for the Ryman stems from something more: the distinct memories I hold of these times that are recalled immediately upon listening to their music.

As I focus back into Bareilles’ cover of “Nice Dream” by Radiohead at her concert during the fall my freshmen year, I vividly feel the same emotions and can sense the genuineness of her vocals. I snap back to the moment of catching my parents’ eyes as they watched in amazement how strongly her performance was affecting me. For that entire piece, I swore the room went hushed and her gorgeous voice echoed throughout the entire hall. To my surprise, while watching the video on YouTube, I recognized that this documentation is anything but what I remember. Though I remember the casual nature of her performance, the interaction of the audience, and the cheers, for me my memory consists of a personal moment between myself and the performers and myself and the music.

This has me questioning whether music and performance recordings are accurate representations of memory. As photographs provide evidence for the what-has-been, recordings and videos can have similar effects. The photographs above are a selection of images that I felt tried to embody the essence of the Ryman Auditorium. I attempted to create the Ryman that I hold so close to me in my mind. However an attempt is best at that. I have simply attempted to capture something that goes beyond photography or video footage. Certain memories cannot be simply captured by film. In fact, though photography and recording can be a means to jog our memories of times, nothing can truly bring me back to specific memories as music can. Every time I listen to this particular song I am taken instantly back to this experience in time. This performance is a moment of personal appreciation and reverence for the art displayed in front of me as well as a special time with my parents. Something about live performance holds more of an impact within my memory that can not be salvaged or done justice through the use of photography, literature, or film, but rather can be enhanced and re-experienced through music.

http://www.ryman.com/history/ ____ http://www.ryman.com/about/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJTum-E58nA

The Victims of Violence Children’s Memorial Garden

Riiiiiiiiiiiippp. The sudden violence of the sound startled me and I froze in place, one leg braced against the brown earth and the other raised at an unbearably high angle such that my foot was scrambling on top of the lowest branch of the tree I was about to climb. My left hand leapt to the back of my pants to assess the damage as my eyes darted all around, looking around for witnesses without me having to tell them to. My hand found the hole without any trouble, and I was horrified to find there was actually a good-sized hole in the seat. In the middle of Centennial Park, with no way of covering it up, and a fifteen-minute walk ahead of me back to my dorm. This was public humiliation at its cruelest.

The front left tree in this Magnolia grove is the tree where I ripped my pants.

The embarrassment I felt at having to walk through the crowded park was absolutely nothing compared to what other people have undergone in public, though. When Elbert Bryant Perkins was murdered in the middle of the street on January 12, 1995, it was witnessed by two adults and two fourteen year-old kids (Tennessee). The murder was a terrible and violent event that the witnesses are unlikely to ever forget. Elbert Bryant Perkins is one of the names engraved in the paving stones of the Victims of Violence Children’s Memorial Garden.

I found the garden when I decided to explore a part of Centennial I had never explored before: the area around the playground. A local elementary school had bussed in a bunch of kids who were now playing a very intense relay game close by the playground, and the playground was swarming with small children and their mothers. The screams of delight, the chanting of the relay teams, and the laughter all seemed in stark contrast to the quiet garden I found nearby with the stone (somewhat reminiscent of a tombstone) proclaiming that this garden was in memory of children who have been victims of violence.

It is hard to tell from this picture, but the playground is right behind the white structure, within viewing distance of the Children’s Memorial Garden.

I walked around the peaceful garden and was struck by the solemn yet calm air within the memorial. The many names on the walkway and the small statue in the middle of the garden made it so I could not forget what the garden was there for, but the beauty of the flowers and trees left me with a feeling of tranquility. The sounds of laughter that had seemed so jarring to me a moment before seemed to fit now in this place of memory.

I have no idea who any of the children on the walkway were, and I found it difficult finding information on most of them. But in this garden, they are remembered in a way that is somehow both personal and impersonal. It is impersonal because the average visitor to Centennial Park doesn’t know anything about the individual names. The garden is simply a tribute to the souls of all children who have died because of violence. But the proximity of the playground makes the whole experience personal and real: all of the living, breathing children enjoying the beautiful day just a few yards away give voice to the children whose names fill the stones of the garden, and allow me to remember the children they once were. Knowing the names of the children in the memorial without knowing what they looked like, and not knowing the names of the joyously alive children on the playground but able to see them playing in all of their wonder, makes me equate the two in my head. The memory of each of the children memorialized in this garden lives on in the luckier children who come to play at Centennial Park.

As I left the garden, I looked at the vines creeping on the entry archway. The vines were twisting together, as if in prayer, or as if in an embrace. This garden can’t alleviate the terrible personal pain that the families of these young victims have gone through, but as a public memorial to the children it is very effective.

Works Cited

Tennessee. Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville. November 1998 Session. Ed. Cecil W. Crowson. N.p.: n.p., n.d. TNcourts.gov. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. <http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/OPINIONS/tcca/PDF/991/jacksone.pdf&gt;.

The text on the stone reads: “Warm summer sun shine kindly here / Warm southern wind blow softly here / Green sod above lie light lie light / Good night dear heart, good night, good night”

What was it like in Black and White?

This photo was taken just past the 21st Ave intersection at Hillsboro Village. It reminds me of the way that Pamuk discusses Black and White. He sees Istanbul as a city in black and white. When I think of things in black and white, I usually connect something negative, or old with it. However, Pamuk loves this feature of his city. He embraces the general haze over the city and the attitudes of the citizens who embrace it. This photo makes me think of what Vanderbilt might have been like when this car was brand new. Vanderbilt, at that time, is just a story to me. I want to know what it was like in a time that I consider to be black and white, however, not in a negative way. Because Pamuk looks at black and white in a positive way, I am beginning to do the same. Maybe this era of black and white had things that I would have enjoyed. The simplicity of certain aspects of life. At the same time, there are negative things that go along with that era, especially social issues. While the car is ascetically beautiful, it is not as reliable or fuel efficient as a modern car. So in many ways, the black and white era had its advantages, but also its disadvantages to today. By looking at those advantages as Pamuk did, I can better appreciate the past, and enjoy looking this car even more, not just for its looks, but also for what it represents, and how far we have come since that time.